Stories for Jul. 7, 2014

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In Brief

In the wake of Europe’s top court invalidating the Data Retention Directive for having insufficient privacy safeguards, the British government is set to pass emergency laws allowing the core functions to continue there. According to a Sunday report in The Guardian, all major political parties support forcing providers to store and provide law enforcement access to details of who called or emailed whom and when, as has been the case since 2009. However, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are reportedly against expanding existing powers to also take in details like which web pages people visit. This “snooper’s charter” idea has been repeatedly suggested and shot down, but the government remains keen to see it put into practice.

Stories for Jul. 6, 2014
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Stories for Jul. 5, 2014

When companies successfully design for online discovery, people are delivered the information they need before they realize they need it. But as Facebook’s newsfeed experiment reminded us, the challenge is to engineer a sense of serendipity without invading users’ privacy. Jay Patani, an analyst at EC1 Capital, imagines a path forward. Read more »

There’s a lot of funding going on in security these days, but it’s hard to tell whether or not these new services are actually going to help things. It’s more important to focus on integrating proper security measures within your organization rather than relying on an outside system to do the work for you. Read more »

Stories for Jul. 4, 2014
In Brief

Upp

The British hydrogen fuel cell company Intelligent Energy (IE) has floated on the London Stock Exchange at a valuation of $1.1 billion. The firm raised $69 million in the Thursday IPO for 8.8 percent of its shares, along with $27 million from Singaporean wealth fund GIC, which now owns around 10 percent of the firm. IE will use the money to sell backup power units for cellular base stations in India, and to support the launch of its Upp personal energy generator (pictured), according to the Financial Times. Early reviews suggest one Upp hydrogen cartridge can charge a mobile device 5 times. IE, which has been developing its technology for 13 years, also plans to make fuel cells for vehicles.

In Brief

BMW 3D printed thumb

BMW is 3D-printing “finger cots” for some of its factory workers, the German carmaker said this week. Working alongside ergonomics researchers from the Technical University of Munich, BMW uses mobile 3D hand scanners to create tailored thumb-protectors for each worker. The printing is done with a selective laser sintering (SLS) process, using a precisely targeted laser to form a pre-modelled solid mass out of a thermoplastic polyurethane powder. The cots act as splints to counter thumb joint stress, helping workers who are fitting rubber plugs.

Stories for Jul. 3, 2014
In Brief

Twitter has released an analysis of activity on the social network during the overtime shootout period in last week’s World Cup match between Brazil and Chile. The pattern, which Twitter claims has repeated itself through every overtime shootout, is pretty interesting: people tweet like crazy leading up to the kick, watch intently (and with hands off keyboards) as the player gets ready and finally kicks, and then tweet like crazy again after the kick scores or misses. Seeing this phenomenon visualized is a small window into the relationships between our eyes, fingers, televisions and computer screens during big events.

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Google is telling British media companies that it has removed articles from its index as a result of an EU decision on “the right to be forgotten.” Critics say the company is deliberately over-reacting, but it is just doing what it can to call attention to a bad law Read more »

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